There are a few things besides losing our iPhone that we fear more than looking stupid. Being abnormal is one: A dreadful sign that we've gone too far, jumped ship, or straight up rejected the notion of "reality"; being just like everybody else has become a double edged sword of security and anxiety. That is if you're normal.
Truman Capote once said: “It may be normal, darling; but I'd rather be natural.” This story is about taking a Saturday to leave our "adult" at home while we head out to explore the naturalness and great joy of an alter ego; particularly, that of our inner child.
Ready to jump up and down for no apparent reason other than you can?
Let's do it.
Forget the color gray. Where we're going reigns 50 shades of pure yay. A place in the middle of nowhere, primary colored inspired wiggles and giggles; a stretch of land designed to make you forget that digital validation is a thing. Yes, you see, in a world that wants everything and does nothing about it, my comrade and I decided to shed our inner neurotic and own the adventure in a pair short shorts and matching polka dot suits. When did the pursuit of fun, become something trivial yet so profound? Simmering rays generously warmed the skin and soothed the eyes that’d been burned from too much screen.
Just like everybody else, we sped our way to the ticket booth; you would have thought we were at a Bruce Springsteen concert. Spontaneity was in the air. A sharp contrast to the vibe at the office or the gym, where because being "in the moment" could equate with losing our marbles, we’d rather perfect the infamous drab but safe, “adult face”. Oh yes, and then there was the carousel. And my fist non-adult squeal. Inner child in the house, check.
Sidenote: don’t you work better when you’re in a better mood? We tend to go throughout our day not allowing ourselves a mix of duty and pleasure, somehow thinking that would make us less effective at our “work”. Call me slow, but I’m still trying to figure that one out.
But I digress. Mommies, daddies, grandparents, aunts and uncles held on tight to their eager youngsters who were about to experience the magic of entrepreneurial play. This was first-world sass at it’s finest and we had first class seats to the show.
We, meaning the two childless ladies who could have passed for childlike girls, (and if not, we don't want to know), stood in long lines of drippy minions like undercover agents of awe and curiosity. The great thing about eavesdropping on kids is re-remembering the millions of things one can talk about. As adults we like to confine our exchange on fixed issues, like our job, kids,health; kids, on the other hand, just talk. Nothing can describe the phenomenon better than a train-wreck of hypotheticals. I mean, who needs “answers” anyway? "Hey Mikey, if I fall down, I'll die; or I'll break my ankle. Or I could slide down the tree, but then I'd get paper cuts." Stuff like that. Magic.
Much a fuss has been made lately about the value of getting outside one’s comfort zone; life begins at the end of your comfort and so on. If voluntarily swirling down Joker Soaker (face first) doesn’t cut it, then I'm at a loss. Despite the milieu of surrounding squares, squares, we were not. At lease not today.
Noon was approaching, hence time for ice cream. Quick, close your eyes. What’s your favorite childhood treat?
Next up: World of Chima. "It feels like we are stealing spots away from these kids" my at times self-deprecating friend would lean in and whisper. Indeed, at times it did. The question “is this normal” would saunter in and out of my thoughts throughout the day. Non-children, however, are humans too, my six year old inner know it all would pop up and exclaim! And roller coasters are equal opportunity fun making machines, right? I had no choice but to agree.
As we continued to hop on and off rides, I couldn't help but notice how differently we, as bigger and superior beings experience "fun". First off, any sort of physical exertion is mostly considered a drag. Play fighting, running around aimlessly, bursting out with odd sounds are sure signs of one too many margaritas; not the euphoria of being alive. Sober.
Roaming through magnificent displays of legotecture in the form of the National Mall, Golden Gate bridge and mighty Darth Vader, my mind's clouds began to disperse. As you can tell I’d been doing a good amount of thinking. The park itself was another reminder of how placid our every day environment is. Don’t bother looking for surprises, cause, surprise, you won’t find any. Seeing so much ingenious design gave us, bigger and smaller people alike, the sense that our world was built by and for our heart. And nowhere did my sidekick and I display this zest for life like the meandering lazy river. With pieces of lego free floating and up for grabs we ducked, passed and tag teamed our way to lego domination. To our defense: When in Rome.
With a victorious lazy river round under our belts, we decided to walk the beautiful nature paths the establishment offered it's patrons. This land of Lego, we came to find, was once something of a national park, and not only that, home to a glorious pair of banyan trees! (ps: You gotta find yourself some banyan trees.)
With our pricey rectangular shackles safety deposited, our eyes were soon to serve as the only means of capturing the immense wonder there was in store. I don't know about you, but the older I get the more I am simply fascinated by trees. Not knowing exactly the way, we entered a serene landscape of foliage, tropical flowers and ponds. No kiddies in sight. Clearly, quiet time had not (yet) become a precious and rare commodity for their species.
A few minutes in, we had sort of lost hope in finding the majestic tree, when it's sheer enormity fell smack dab in our view. We stood still, gazing at the intricate weavings of time. We walked around it, leaned against it, and took it’s grandeur in. My insightful friend suggested following the progression of the tree through it's roots, sort of of like a labyrinth for the eyes. And so we took a few minutes and did just that. Meditation, check.
After a good 4 hours of idealizing the scene, trouble hit the land of awesome. I noticed how despite the frenzy of activity, no one was really talking to each other. It was like going to a great party where everyone was jamming to their own song. Strange.
Thunder was our cue that departure from fantasyland was rapidly approaching. Sure, we had our share of being squished in miniature tubes, and the (occasional) dropping of some ill-timed f-bombs; but overall I'd say we blended right in.
Was that normal?
Ugh! Shut up with that already.
Oops. My bad.